Unusual custom-made Packard Super 8. 38,000 original miles, known ownership history back to new with three long-term owners. 95% original survivor. Runs and drives superbly, everything works, ready to tour!
This is a very unusual Packard for a variety of reasons: it’s a 1942 Packard, with some estimates putting production in the hundreds. Two, it is a Packard 160 on the 138-inch chassis, which was usually reserved for the 180. Three, it is equipped with a divider window like a formal sedan, but does not have the formal sedan’s padded roof. Four, there’s a single jump seat in back, sometimes referred to as an “assistant’s seat,” making it a six-passenger model. Finally, there are snaps on top of the front seat back, suggesting either a factory seat cover, or—more likely—a snap-on privacy curtain for the divider window, which makes sense given its funeral home origin.
The glossy black lacquer paint shows why Packards were special, and even after nearly 80 years it shines up beautifully. Yes, of course there are signs of age, including some minor checking and some chips in the finish, most notably on the sidemount covers, but nothing that requires attention or detracts from the presentation. Original paint means original steel and no botched bodywork for a new owner to manage. The quality of the finish is testament to the car’s care, which was surely impeccable while in funeral home service, and thereafter it was treated as a special car, used only on weekends during nice weather. This car has been loved and it shows. People who understand survivors will find it lovely. The bumpers were re-chromed in the late ‘80s but the rest of the chrome and stainless trim is in very good original condition, including the tall Packard grille which features fully operational thermostatically-controlled shutters.
The tan wool broadcloth interior is likewise beautifully preserved and entirely original. With so few miles, it should not be surprising that there is very little wear on even the driver’s seat, which shows only minor scuffing on the trim bead where someone would slide behind the wheel. Factory gauges are all functional and the steering wheel is in good shape, save for some cracking around the chrome rings on the horizontal spoke. The original electric clock ticks away reliably and at some point an auxiliary 6v power outlet was installed under the dash. There is also a discreet toggle switch for the electric fuel pump and a dealer-installed switch for the defroster, which works properly. The rear seat is just as beautifully preserved, with excellent upholstery and a folding jump seat that looks almost completely unused and even the carpets appear to be original equipment. The divider window crank is hidden behind the panel with a working wind-up clock, and a storage compartment takes the place of the passenger’s side jump seat. That’s a heater unit in the center, but we have not tested it. The trunk is plain and functional, but includes a matching full-sized spare so you don’t have to wrestle with the sidemounts if you’re in need.
There are some who will argue that the final 356 cubic inch straight-8 is the best of Packard's best, and I can't disagree. In 1942 it was rated at 160 horsepower, but it isn't horsepower that makes this engine sing, since it doesn't really like to rev, but rather the effortless creamy-smooth torque that moves this car like it's powered by an electric motor. The engine has never been apart and runs beautifully, starting with the original accelerator pedal switch and cruising easily at 60 MPH. Routine maintenance items have been recently serviced, including a full tune up just recently, and there's evidence that the radiator has been re-cored and the water pump replaced, making it mechanically healthy and ready to tour. It acts like a Packard should act.
The chassis is likewise unrestored and I'm flat-out astounded by how beautifully this car rides, ignoring bumps and gliding over broken pavement without a wiggle or a rattle, just the way good original cars always do. Braking is confident, steering is very low effort, even at low speeds, and the recent exhaust system has a nice 8-cylinder grumble that is by no means objectionable. Yes, there’s some evidence of seepage around the moving parts, but this car is not a chronic leaker and it has obviously been kept out of the truly foul weather as there’s zero rot, just some surface scale on the bare metal parts. If perfection is what you need, this isn’t your car, but there really is something special about the way a low-mileage original car goes down the road, especially a luxury car like this. The handsome hubcaps are bereft of markings, which is correct for 1942, and it sits on 7.00-16 wide whitewall tires that are still in very good condition.
This car has been awarded AACA HPOF (Historical Preservation of Original Features) status and is a proud member of the CCCA 1000-mile club.
Documentation includes the original owner’s manual and folder, as well as a factory shop manual. The car also includes some spare parts (fuel pump, voltage regulator, tune-up parts) and a variety of tools for touring.
Cars like this are special. For touring, the original finish’s condition is liberating, allowing you to enjoy the car without worries about bugs or weather. The beautiful interior whispers about the passage of time but shows little evidence of it. And the silky smooth way this big Packard goes about its business is surely why pre-war Packards are among the most cherished of all collector cars. It’s a superior road car with a fantastic story to tell, and the next owner can look forward to being a part of a short list of dedicated caretakers. Call today!
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